NY court orders Iran hand $1.75 billion to US victims of 1983 attack

NEW YORK (AFP) - A US appeals court in New York on Wednesday ordered US$1.75 billion (S$2.12 billion) in Iranian funds be handed to families of Americans killed in the 1983 attack on a barracks in Beirut.

The decision from three judges upheld a ruling from US federal judge Katherine Forrest in 2013 that the money, currently held in New York by Citibank, be handed over to the plaintiffs.

The money would be a partial payment of the US$2.65 billion award a US judge ordered Iran to pay to the families in 2007.

The 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 American personnel and was deemed by the United States to have been carried out by Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hizbollah group.

A French barracks was bombed on the same day, killing 58 French paratroopers. France also blamed Hizbollah and Iran.

Wednesday’s ruling was the latest in a string of US court decisions that have ordered Iranian cash payments to American families as compensation for the 1983 bombing.

The American families went to court in this case in 2010 after finding out that the money was sitting in Citibank, linked through an intermediary Italian bank to the Central Bank of Iran.

The Iranian central bank appealed the 2013 decision and can also appeal again, going right up to the US Supreme Court.